Boosie BadAzz’s ‘Touch Down 2 Cause Hell’ Is a Triumphant Comeback
The list of rappers recovering from extended prison sentences and returning to rap relevance is a short one; only Tupac, Lil Wayne, T.I. and more than likely Gucci Mane can boast that they didn't truly lose a step while locked up. But none of them spent anywhere near the four-plus years behind bars that Boosie BadAzz endured, with nearly all of it spent wondering if there would be any daylight at the end of the road. Now, 15 months after he became a free man once more, Boosie's brand new album Touch Down 2 Cause Hell is the triumphant and brutally honest punch in the jaw that the rap game has needed.
Simply put, TD2CH is the hardest rap album of the year. Straight from the rip Boosie sets the tone over a relentless loop, with his patented aggression sounding re-energized and fresh. He wastes little time diving into his story on "Window Of My Eyes," shining a light into his personal darkness during his prison stay: "I'm dreaming that I was free, I wake up like God Damn/Sometimes I stare in the mirror and don't know who I am" and "I'm stressing, biting my nails in my cell in pain/Me and the thunderstorms in my eyes can't see the rain." Boosie's story—well-documented at this point by the media—can still only be told by the man himself. He's one of the most honest, distinctive storytellers in hip-hop, and this is one that needs to be told.
There are times when it almost feels too real; Boosie has no filters when it comes to his lyrics, fleshing out all aspects of his struggle and journey. "Mercy On My Soul" with Jeezy is a standout, with the two MCs undergoing a self-examination and pouring out the reasons why they can't sleep at night in between a heart-wrenching hook from Akelee. "You know they told me tell on Turk and Mel for lesser charges/Ask me what I want to say, I say I want to fuck your daughter," he raps on "Like A Man," referencing the attempted murder case that engulfed his former bosses at Trill Ent. a few years ago. He sums it all up on "Mr. Miyagi": "Explain to you in detail why you boys don't know my struggle/This that real deal shit from a real muthafucka!"
Boosie doesn't have to look outside of his own experiences for material, but he doesn't focus only on himself. "Retaliation" is a tale of the streets; "Black Heaven" with Keyshia and J. Cole is a meditation on Black leaders who have passed; "She Don't Love Me," "How She Got Her Name" and "Spoil You" are all stories of women, relationships and the ups and downs of love; "Hands Up" is a brutal takedown of the issues of police violence in the country. But "Hip-Hop Hooray" stands apart from the rest; in a genre of music that values authenticity, there isn't another MC who could make the statement that Boosie does, calling out hip-hop for lying and fabricating their raps. "Turn on the radio you hear the same thing/Models, Bugatti's and bottles, damn shame/It seems rappers don't struggle no mo', love they mother no mo'/I just left a place where you niggas will get fucked up," he says, spraying bullets with venom at the rest of the rap game. And who could come at him? Too many MCs won't lay their credentials on the line; Boosie says straight up what others leave unsaid.
The album closer "I'm Sorry" is an emotional gem, an apology to his family, his kids, his friends and his fans with Boosie pouring out the pain, regret and emotional hurricane of the past six years. It's the final bow that ties up Touch Down 2 Cause Hell as the realest, most honest rap album in recent memory. His first words on the album opener are prophetic: "Minor setback for a major comeback." Some people say the words, but Boosie BadAzz has always lived them. —Dan Rys